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Restaurants & Bars

Santa Monica Stopover - Melisse

turbowine | Aug 31, 2017 10:37 PM

Part 4 of our great expedition to see the eclipse of 2017, going through Nevada, Utah and Wyoming.
Again, the stars are my score given out on “Trip Advisor”
(Click on my user name to find the other parts.)

Melisse, Santa Monica, CA, 5 stars
http://www.melisse.com/
First really “fancy” restaurant experience in LA. Done fancy in other cities, just not in the LA area before now. Have to say I enjoyed it! This was a nice place. I recommend. Lots of staff, service is quite good. The bread options aren’t my favorite (compared to other restaurants we’ve been to). We did do the wine pairing, something we don’t normally do. Been a long time, but figured, why not, let’s do it and see how it goes. Turns out it went well. Nice selections, nice size pours. Plenty of wine. I didn’t feel like it was a waste of money like I have at other establishments. We went with the 10 course menu (they also have a 4 and 7 course option). Before I forget, the décor was quite attractive. Drab building on the outside, but nicely appointed interior.
Meal started with an aperitif (included), which was fruit juice infused with other flavors. Sorry, don’t remember more than that. I liked it, my wife didn’t.
From there, 2 amuse bouche (yes, 2!):
Tomato salad dressed in basil oil with watermelon and lime water
Tomato soup with zucchini and strawberry sorbet.
Both were very good. The strawberry sorbet was in the tomato soup, so you got a nice cold/hot combo in the same spoonful, with the contrasting flavors as well, bright strawberry fruitiness with the more mellow tomato earthy fruitiness. A great idea that worked very well.

Next up the 10 courses:
1: Poached egg with lemon crème and caviar
Really tasty, but we made a mess of yellow egg yolk on the white table cloth.

2: Foie Gras torchon wrapped with rabbit accompanied by truffles and pluots
I much prefer sautéed foie gras to pate, but this wasn’t bad as pate goes. The rabbit added some texture and who doesn’t like truffles?

3: Shishito pepper with egg plant and cauliflower
This was another tasty dish, though I don’t remember much about it other than that.

4: Prawn with mango, papaya and lemon consume (option to do pasta with white truffles, which we turned down, $95 supplement)
This was a very good prawn dish. Really enjoyed it. In hindsight, maybe one of us should have done the pasta, just to try them both.

5: Black Cod with squash and mushrooms in a tomato broth
Also quite nice

6: Chicken, prosciutto & brown rice in a chanterelle sauce
My wife normally hates rice with the hull on it. White rice only kind of person. Until this dish. We both enjoyed the flavors, which I’m sure has a lot to do with the sauce.

7: Rib eye (or Waygu rib eye, $65 supplement) with porcini & leeks in jus
This was interesting. We ordered one of each. Turns out, I wasn’t a big fan of the Waygu. Too creamy, buttery for me. I prefer my meat to have a meaty texture. The Waygu didn’t feel like meat!

8: Fourme d’Ambert cheese course, with figs, pecan brittle and nougatine
Nice little course – loved the pecan brittle, but hey, I love pecans.

9: Dark chocolate, coffee and almond
Here is the one spot the wine pairing failed. They served a Madera that wasn’t sweet enough. When pairing dessert wines, the wine needs to be sweeter than the dessert. It tastes thin and acidic, astringent really, if it isn’t.

10: Honeyloupe melon with green tea granite and coconut tapioca
I don’t remember this – as we hit our 10th wine pairing, my memory started to fade. All I can say is we both ate it.

Then, to wrap up the night we were served:
Digestive of infused tea
Mignardises & Gourmandises
(Again, included)

For each course, a chef would come out and explain it to you, which I think is a nice touch, though it is obvious that some are better at public speaking than others. Still, an intimate and friendly approach to serving the food.

Overall, this was a great experience!

Melisse Restaurant
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